Unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) are a relatively new concept in UK law. The Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) has been available to law enforcement since February 2018. UWOs are intended to bolster the Proceeds of Crime regime, by making it easier for law enforcement agencies to seize assets suspected of representing criminal property. They place significant demands on any high net worth individual (HNWI), company or trust that becomes the subject of one. Any subject of a UWO has to make sure they respond to it carefully and appropriately. This will require seeking legal advice from lawyers who have specific and proven expertise in this developing area of law.
Clarke Kiernan LLP is one of the few legal firms to have the necessary skills and experience. As a firm that is consistently highly-ranked in national and legal guides such as the Legal 500 for our work in fraud and financial crime. We have become the choice of many high net worth individuals and professionals who find themselves having to justify their wealth.
The National Crime Agency (‘NCA’) has openly stated it is considering UWOs as an investigative tool in “100s of cases”. It remains to be seen whether the SFO will make use of the new powers particularly given the issues that the NCA have experienced (see below).